The Orange Syracuse 2019 football season is only a few weeks away and we have almost completed the previews of positions for each group on this year's SU formation.
Every week before the season, we present a group and all players of the roster this fall. Last week, we saw how Syracuse was going to reset the linebacker. This time:
At the start of last season, Orange's high school seemed to be a handicap. They have allowed copious amounts of big games, have been experienced but inconsistent and do not seem to have the understanding to help them, either. What a difference a year makes, though.
Even taking into account some of the early struggles against Michigan West, the defensive backs of Syracuse have improved significantly, both individually and as a group, in 2018. The completion percentages have gone from 60.9 to 55.1, and interceptions went from four to 18. They allowed 0.4 yards less per game. completion, and of course, saw the arrival of a discussion star and All-American in Andre Cisco. Beyond Cisco, Christopher Fredrick and Evan Foster have made significant improvements, as well as the emergence of Ifeatu Melifonwu. Now, this looks like an awesome group that will team with the defensive line to wear what should be a strong unit in general on that side of the ball.
Christopher Fredrick, (Redshirt) Senior
At the beginning of last year, there were ideas (here at least) that Fredrick could make a jump in the top echelon of the corner half. And even though things started a little difficult, the veteran did it as a high school leader who improved almost every week. During the year, he had 56 tackles, three selections and four breaks, as well as a TFL. By playing to go further in the radar of the NFL scouts this year, we could see even bigger numbers.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, (red shirt) Sophomore
The pro potential is in the genes of the family, and Melifonwu has already shown this potential even with limited action with Syracuse until now. Check figures David Hale pointed out today too, for more evidence. He allowed less than 50% completions and zero touchdowns, while separating four passes. Not surprisingly, he grabbed one of the starting corner roles in the pre-season depth chart.
Trill will be leaving Nickel Corner this year after impressing in action on the spot last year. He had 31 tackles plus 2.5 TFL and two interceptions. With the linebacker even more uncertain this season, we will probably see even more 4-2-5 formations that keep him on the field. That's great, because we'll take any excuse to bring the game maker more clichés.
Scoop Bradshaw, Senior
Scoop has been replaced by Fredrick's original starting role in the initial depth chart, but that may not mean that we will see him much less. Because of the speed of the game, the orange support offensive also creates more defensive shots. So, even with the potential start of Melifonwu, he is still in the rotation to keep his spirit fresh and his experience should be a major asset to the bench.
Carl Jones, Senior
Jones is one of the fastest players on the team (4.29 seconds 40 seconds), but we have not seen a ton of what he can do on defense as he played with more special teams. Now he will play a bigger role in group rotation and use it more frequently. Personally, very curious to see how many times he has come out this season.
Stritzinger did an impressive job moving from the defensive side to the ball. He started a game last year and has now supported Trill on the back. He chose WVU last year and, although his time is limited, he always seemed able to play when the unit was defensive. We will probably see more of him in 2019.
DuWayne Johnson, (Red) Senior
Johnson is a big defender (6-foot-3) who should be able to sneak into this falcons secondary as needed, although last year he did not have a lot of action in his first year on campus. This season's contributions are likely to focus on special teams, but given the critical importance of this group for Syracuse's success, it is far from a bad thing.
Adrian Cole, First-year student
Arriving early on campus gives Cole a boost in terms of freshman fitting that tries to break into the depths chart, but there is still a long way to go with so many options experienced in front of him. Given the fact that many seniors will retire by 2020, this year could be a red season to deepen the system's learning.
Garrett Williams, First-year student
Another two – way athlete in high school and a track star on this level too, Williams is in a boat similar to many other young DB lineup. He has a lot of promises, but also a lot of names preventing him from getting any representatives of the defense. If this is not special teams this year, he will learn a lot with a redshirt.
Kyle Strickland, (Red shirt) junior
Although he is an itinerant player, Strickland is an integral part of the special teams (kickoffs) unit and is ready to do it once again. Given the SU's success in returning, it played a key role.
Jake Wright, (Redshirt) Freshman
Wright did not see the field last season, and we'll see if he'll make his way into special teams in 2019. At 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, he's a bigger option than most Defensive backs from Syracuse, so it could be a smart addition to the cover.
Andre Cisco, Sophomore
How do you follow an All-American freshman campaign? Cisco is about to take a chance, even if it did not match the seven interceptions of last year. But beyond the INT, he also improved over the last year, broke 11 assists and collected 60 tackles. He also transformed his body during the off season by adding MUCH more muscle, which should also help become a more aggressive tackler.
Evan Foster, senior
As of 2018, there were some questions about Foster's abilities as a starting safety. And then, like many other high school students, he improved by leaps and bounds with Cisco to become a dreaded group in the back of the defense. His 86 tackles made up a large number and with a bit of luck, they dipped a bit this year with more defenses. Like Fredrick, he's looking to impress the NFL raters this season.
Devon Clarke, (Red shirt) junior
Clarke was slightly injured during his career and unfortunately missed 10 games in 2018. He is once again about to intervene and contribute to safety, perhaps offering a break for beginners and keeping the whole cool world. At 6 feet 2 inches and 200 pounds, he really has the size to make an impact even just here and there.
Eric Coley, (Red shirt) Sophomore
Coley remained largely under the radar, but he was impressive in his limited action last season. He said he should serve as a free backup system for Andre Cisco at the moment, which is an excellent sign of his progress so far at SU. It's fast and convenient, and we'll definitely see it popping up to give Cisco a break when it's needed.
Antwan Cordy, (Red) Senior
Cordy did not appear on the pre-season depth map, but is also a good athlete to stay out of the rotation altogether, and may end up losing time as needed. Last year, he was an effective punt returner, winning 27 tackles, two TFLs and three assists late in the game. You will see it somewhere.
Cam Jonas, (Redshirt) Freshman
Florida's big Florida (6-foot-1, 210-pound) product was dreaded last year, but may not prevent it from getting involved this season, even with the special teams unit . He should be one of the hardest attackers among the DBs and is about to make a jump soon, even if it's a year.
Neil Nunn, First-year student
Nunn was one of the most vaunted rookies in 2019, and he's likely to end up on the pitch in 2019, with a bigger goal in 2020. For safety, he probably needs to Add a little more. weight at only 170 pounds. However, he has time to do it while learning the system this year.
Aman Greenwood, First-year student
Greenwood has a lot of security in front of him and could take advantage of the longer list by taking a red shirt and getting more used up in the meantime. He is a potent tackler and a potential ballhawk – something we hope to see soon in action.
AJ Calabro, (Redshirt) Freshman
Calabro seems to be about to do the same thing for the Orange Special Teams unit. Maybe these abilities even give way to special teams playing in the game this year or the following year.
Kevin Nusdeo, (Red shirt) Sophomore
Syracuse has done a good job bringing in larger and more athletic groups, especially for the special team roles. Nusdeo could be another of those, weighing 6 feet 1 inches and weighing 197 pounds (or at least, perhaps a bigger role of scouting team this year).
John Sweetwood, (Redshirt) Freshman
To be determined on Sweetwood see the field this year considering all those we have already discussed. But the contributions of the scouting team could be a great way to get more involved.
What a difference a year makes. At the beginning of last year, this group seemed experienced in some places, but on the whole it lacked a real identity or remarkable names. Now, they have an All-American (Cisco), at least two potential future players (Foster, Fredricks) and another young aspiring player in Melifonwu who make an impressive crew – and that, before you reach the depth that really keeps you confident in what this unit can do.
Although counting numbers are never excellent, there is still a long way to go for efficiency indicators to continue to improve, as was the case from 2017 to 2018. Assuming, quite rightly, that the number of interceptions can not necessarily remain at the same high level, there are still many ways for these comics to continue to play big games and divide the temporary attacks. We know they will give up longer winnings here and there, and that's fine as long as we see the reward for that risk. With what should be an even better band in 2019, it's a good bet.